Latest research highlights growing evidence for environmental and prodromal factors in Parkinson's

21 Sept 2020

A team of researchers have just published findings of an increased incidence of Parkinson's associated with environmental, genetic and prodromal factors. This study is the latest in a growing body of research suggesting that the prevention of Parkinson's, the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, is possible.

The team, led by Benjamin Jacobs and Daniel Belete, examined a cohort of 1,276 individuals with a Parkinson's diagnosis against 500,460 controls. They constructed polygenic risk scores (PRSs) using external weights and selected the best PRS from within 30% of the cohort.

They also used the PRS in a separate testing against 70% of the cohort to examine gene–environment interactions and compare predictive models for Parkinson's.

They found strong evidence of association between Parkinson's and:

  • a positive family history of Parkinson's,
  • a positive family history of dementia,
  • non-smoking,
  • low alcohol consumption,
  • depression,
  • daytime somnolence,
  • epilepsy and
  • earlier menarche.

They also found that:

  • those with the highest 10% of PRSs had an increased risk of Parkinson's
  • a higher PRS was associated with diagnosis at an earlier age.
  • there is evidence of an interaction between PRS and diabetes.

Corresponding author Dr. Alastair Noyce of Queen Mary's Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine told Medical Express in an interview this week:

"These results provide further evidence that we can identify a group at higher risk of Parkinson's disease, who would be ideal candidates for neuroprotective drug trials or other prevention strategies. Our research takes a further step forward in thinking about the prevention of Parkinson's disease and who are the best groups to target for prevention."

The full article can be found online:

Benjamin Meir Jacobs et al. Parkinson's disease determinants, prediction and gene–environment interactions in the UK Biobank, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (2020). DOI: 10.1136/jnnp-2020-323646

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